As part of its ongoing effort to be a network you can watch while not masturbating, Playboy TV is introducing The Stash, its own version of The Soup (although not, as far as I can tell, an official franchise like The Dish, Sports Soup and Web Soup). It's exactly what you'd imagine Porn Soup would be: A snarky host (VH1 veteran Rachel Perry) stands in front of a green screen, introduces clips from porn videos and other sex-related videos, then makes jokes about them. It's about 50-60 percent funny, which is not a bad success rate, and its presence on Playboy means that there's no censoring of nudity or explicit sex acts.
I like that Playboy is willing to have a sense of humor about itself, and it's great that the producers hired Perry instead of a "funny" Playmate or porn star, but the show walks a sometimes shaky line between laughing about sexuality and laughing at it, particularly in a segment featuring fetish videos and another in which Perry goes to the Adult Entertainment Expo. Given that most of the other programming on the network is all about getting people off, it seems misguided to mock the ways that some people attain sexual pleasure, or to imply that certain healthy (if odd) desires are shameful. When Perry makes fun of the low production values, absurd plotting and dubious acting of mainstream porn, the tone is gentle and inclusive, but her dismissal of out-there sexual desires or unconventional products offered at AEE can come off as mean-spirited.
Maybe I'm just being overly sensitive, though, and merely by showcasing this material in a sort of no-big-deal way, in a format familiar from innocuous basic-cable shows, Playboy is doing its part to demystify sexuality and prove that it can be fun. That, plus jokes about Smurf cock, makes The Stash worth keeping an eye on.